Fire opal is the name given to a variety of opal found in North, Central, and South America that is yellowish to reddish. The most valuable material is transparent and reddish. Red varieties are often called cherry opal. Sun opal is a trade name applied to a bright yellow variety of Mexican fire opal. Fire opal commonly exhibits greenish to greenish brown fluorescence. It typically does not display play-of-color phenomena but occasionally fine examples with play-of-color will occur. The more notable sources are Brazil, Guatemala, and Mexico.
- Optical Properties
- Characteristic Physical Properties
- Chemistry & Crystallography
LWUV: Inert to moderate greenish brown
Fire Opal Colors
Fire Opal Spectra
Color due to internal structure. Like most fire opals there is very little transmission in the violet blue side of the visible spectrum. In the lighter colored stones as here, absorption sets in about 540nm. but in the darker specimens only red and orange may be transmitted.
We acknowledge the significant scientific contributions of John S Harris, FGA to the study of gemstone spectra and with deep appreciation to him, acknowledges the use of his images and related notes about gemstones and their spectra in the educational materials on this website.
Precious Opal, Mexican Fire Opal, Brazilian Fire Opal, Cherry Opal, Gold Opal, Sun Opal
Countries of Origin
Tanzania, United Republic Of; Ecuador; Argentina; United States of America (the); Hungary; Madagascar; Kazakhstan; Bolivia (Plurinational State of); Canada; Austria; Turkey; Unknown; Russian Federation (the); Brazil; Honduras; Mexico; Slovakia; Australia; Ethiopia; Indonesia; United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Avoid water, heat and solvents. Fire Opal is moderately soft, so be mindful of scratching.
Synthetic Fire Opal
Synthetic Fire Opal was manufactured by Rhea Industries and marketed as “Mexifire®”. The material was first reported in the scientific literature in 2008 and has been modified throughout the years to improve the product currently in the marketplace.
- Characteristic Physical properties